WASHINGTON — Mexico’s top trade negotiator said Wednesday that two or three issues must be resolved to Mexico’s satisfaction before finalizing a new trade agreement with the United States and Canada.
Jesus Seade said he has been working hard the last few days to reach agreement on a final version that answers demands made by U.S. House Democrats as part of the legislative ratification process.
“Let?s hope (it will all be over) in the coming days, but I don’t want to speculate,” Seade said after meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, for a few hours.
While Mexico’s Senate has already approved the pact, the Trump administration is negotiating with House Democrats on changes that would prompt House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring an implementation bill to the House floor for a vote. Both chambers of Congress must pass the bill before the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement goes into effect.
With the backing of labor unions, Pelosi has insisted on changes that ensure improved labor and environmental standards are enforced.
As part of the agreement, Mexico has strengthened laws protecting worker’s rights to organize and join the union of their choice. But unions have four years to comply with the measure requiring secret ballots on contracts.
The change is meant to eliminate the longstanding practice in which pro-company “protection” unions sign contracts behind workers’ backs.